Explore the Geography of Poetry

Elizabeth Borneman

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If you’ve ever travelled to Dublin you may have seen statues commemorating the great writer James Joyce. In Edinburgh, Scotland this commemoration of writers and other artists includes Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, and Walter Scott. Oscar Wild’s birthplace and home is commemorated, as are the places where Ernest Hemingway wrote and drank and ultimately died.

Walk around many cities anywhere in the world and you will find evidence of its artistic heritage, even if you have to dig a little deeper in some places than you do in others. Buildings, streets, and other little reminders give us clues that great men and women once created here. Now a new app can help point out where great artists lived and worked.

The app, called Poetic Places, was created by Sarah Cole and used data gathered from the British Library to create a system to identify locations in poems, paintings, and other works of literature. Significant places have been documented in the app and tracked with GPS to let users know when they’ve stumbled upon something significant.

The app allows users to click on the location they are near to learn more about the piece of work or art associated with that place, the creator, and the history surrounding the location itself.

The app is currently only available in London, with minimal data available in other locations, but with so much history tucked in nooks and crannies this may be the perfect place for this project to begin. The app works with iOS and Android systems.

Sarah Cole hopes to expand the app to work in more locations, but concentrated on London to make the history and culture there more palatable to visitors and locals alike. She highlights the ease of the app, which allows people to learn about the things all around them without having to shift through piles of research themselves in order to find out what is significant.

If you find yourself around London in the near future, download the Poetic Places app and see what is around you.

Visit: Poetic Places

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About the author
Elizabeth Borneman
My name is Elizabeth Borneman and I am a freelance writer, reader, and coffee drinker. I live on a small island in Alaska, which gives me plenty of time to fish, hike, kayak, and be inspired by nature. I enjoy writing about the natural world and find lots of ways to flex my creative muscles on the beach, in the forest, or down at the local coffee shop.

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